The Philippines has played a leading role in a high-level meeting with United Nations (UN) member states where they reached a consensus to intensify efforts on the non-punishment principle of human trafficking victims.
Ambassador Enrique A. Manalo, Philippine Permanent Representative to the UN, has co-facilitated the Modalities resolution for the high-level meeting as well as the political declaration on the implementation of the global plan of action to combat trafficking in persons.
According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Manalo also chaired the 38th plenary meeting that heard statements of member states about their anti-trafficking efforts, and facilitated a panel discussion on emerging issues on human trafficking and delivered the panel’s summary report before the General Assembly.
The meetings were held on Nov. 22 and 23.
It was disclosed that the political declaration on the implementation of the global plan of action was adopted by consensus at the high-level meeting.
“The declaration called on member states to intensify efforts to implement the non-punishment principle. This principle prevents the punishment of trafficking victims for acts they were compelled to commit as a direct consequence of their trafficking situation,” the DFA said.
The declaration also called for the protection of migrants in all stages of the migration journey in order to reduce their risk of being trafficked.
“Member states also reaffirmed their commitment to evince strong political will to take decisive concerted action to end the heinous crime of human trafficking, wherever it may occur,” the DFA added.
The political declaration is a result of more than three months of intergovernmental negotiations led by Manalo with Ambassador José A. Blanco, Permanent Representative of the Dominican Republic.
The high-level meeting also focused on the emerging issues such as trafficking in persons in the context of COVID-19 and the misuse of information and communications technologies to facilitate trafficking, including trafficking of children for sexual exploitation on the Internet.
The high-level meeting to appraise the progress of the implementation of the global plan of action to combat trafficking in persons is conducted every four years.